In reviewing BP’s latest Statistic Review of World Energy, the big story for world oil last year was obvious: the USA’s third straight record-breaking increase in average annual production. Just over 75% of the net increase in world oil production during 2014 came from the USA; add in Canada and 90% of the total increase came from North America. Throw in Brazil’s first significant increase in three years and you have all the world’s net gain in world oil production accounted for by three non-OPEC players. Production from all other producers combined was flat. So the question for 2015 is straightforward: will we see a repeat of those gains…and the flat-liners?
The great oil price slide of 2014-15 is taking on epic proportions. US futures traded for a while below $40 a barrel on Friday while Brent closed out at $45.46. Last week the financial press struggled to find an historical comparison to what is taking place in the oil markets. Some papers finally settled on the price crash of 1986 which sent oil prices down to $10 a barrel and led to the demise of the Soviet Union as the most apt. The now familiar forces of too much oil in inventories with nobody moving to cut production; China’s exports, manufacturing, yuan, and stock markets continuing to drop with still more problems in sight; and the prospect for increased Iranian exports after the nuclear agreement is ratified; all contributed to the falling prices. Many sense a decisive shift in the oil markets overall appraisal of the situation with those expecting a price rebound at any minute throwing in the towel and acknowledging that those not expecting a substantial price increase until late 2016 or even 2017 are probably right.
Oil prices have now had a 7th consecutive weekly loss with New York futures closing Friday at $42.50 and London at $49.19. Last week Beijing’s devaluation of the yuan joined the 2 million b/d oil glut and an unplanned outage at a major US refinery to send oil prices lower. Traders now are talking about prices falling into the $30s. The week’s new data included: US crude stocks falling a bit, but not as much as expected; new forecasts from the IEA and EIA which predict that the glut will continue and US production will fall until late in 2016 at which time production and oil prices will rise; the monthly report from North Dakota saying that shale oil production continued to rise in June and that its well-head prices are now down to $28 a barrel; and that the US rig count was up slightly the week before last.
Oil prices continue to fall with New York futures closing Friday at $43.87 and London at $48.61, both down 7 percent for the week. There was the now usual mid-week bounce as traders anticipated that US crude inventories would decline. This time they did fall for the third straight week, but record refining simply turned the crude into inventories of oil products leaving the total stockpiles of commercial crude oil and products largely unchanged at the time of year when it usually drops due to heavier summer demand.
By Art Berman. Reprinted from ArtBerman.com World oil demand increased by 1.1 million barrels per day in February. This is a potentially important data point that suggests a crude oil price recovery sooner than later. It is also important because it further supports the view that a production surplus and not weak demand is the main cause for the […]
By Robert L. Hirsch. The recent world oil supply/price decline situation looks very much like what happened in 1985-86, when the Saudis dramatically increased oil production, causing world oil prices to crater. That Saudi action was the result of their having acted as swing producer in OPEC, which under those circumstances caused a progressive loss […]
A National Energy Program – A White Paper on Achieving Energy Independence and National Transformation. By Lawrence Klaus. Revised and Updated, January 2015. In a recent post, we marked the 40th anniversary of the 1973 Oil Embargo–an event that has had profound economic and geopolitical aftershocks for the United States. The embargo itself lasted […]